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Last weekend I went on a roadtrip to Strandhill in County, Sligo with a few good friends. I planned the trip using the fabulous website Go Strandhill. We stopped off at the Landmark Hotel, Carrick on Shannon which is en route. We had soup and sandwiches in the conservatory of the Boardwalk Café. We stayed at Strandhill Lodge and Suites, a boutique hotel located on Top Road about a five minute walk down the hill to the village. I would definitely recommend them – great location, fabulous views overlooking Knocknarea on one side and Strandhill on the other and very friendly staff. It’s a family-run hotel which in this day and age is a rare find.

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When we arrived and had settled in, we went for a walk down to Strandhill beach to build up an appetite for dinner. That night we ate in Bella Vista where we sat in the Captains Quarters. Everyone enjoyed their food and we stayed for one drink downstairs to watch the closing minutes of the football.

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On Saturday, after a lovely continental breakfast, we headed down to the village to do some more exploring and some surfer-watching. We enjoyed a coffee in the very popular Shells Cafe and had a look around their Little Shop. I had booked myself in for a Seaweed Bath in Voya. It is a real treat – you get your own private room for 50 minutes where you spend 5-10 minutes in the steam room before enjoying the seaweed bath. They advise drinking lots of water. It does get pretty hot in there but it is very relaxing.

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For the afternoon, we headed to Lissadell House. It has recently reopened after a few years where there was a court case over a right of way. It is €12 for a tour of the house and gardens. I would definitely recommend it as a lovely way to spend a few hours. The house is impressive especially the difference between upstairs and downstairs and you learn about the history of the Gore Booth Family. Yeats was a frequent visitor and his love for Lissadell House is evident in his poetry. Also, we hear the impressive story of Countess Markievicz, a remarkable strong revolutionary woman and her equally fearless sister, Eva. It is hard to believe that the Cassidy-Walshes live there but they are very much visible in the modern photos of them and their seven children dotted around the rooms. The house overlooks Sligo Bay and Ben Bulben and the alpine gardens are particularly impressive. They are hoping to bring the walled gardens back to their former glory.

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That night we enjoyed dinner in Tra Ban, the restaurant above the Strand pub. Afterwards we watched the sunset before finishing the night off with a few drinks in The Venue with stunning views of Strandhill.

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On the Sunday, after more surfer-watching and a quick walk along the beach, we checked out the People’s Market. There are lots of stalls on offer selling food and beautiful crafts and a nice addition is some live music while you shop. We had coffee in the Strand Bar to shelter from a heavy shower. The sun came out again in time for us to enjoy some homemade ice-cream in Mammy Johnston’s, a beautiful sweet shop and ice-cream parlour, definitely the stuff of children’s dreams, before saying goodbye to Strandhill and heading for home.

I would definitely recommend a trip to Strandhill, a beautiful part of our country and well worth a visit and as this year is all about the Wild Atlantic Way, it is worth adding this to your list of places to go.
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